HDTV migration in Europe to gain steam as nations switch off analog transmission
November 4, 2008
A new market research report from Screen Digest has identified three critical factors that will support the successful migration to HDTV in Europe.
According to “HDTV 2008: Global Uptake, Strategies and Business Models,” those factors include: penetration of HD-ready displays, supply of HD content and HD channels, and the availability of HD broadcasts on a variety of TV platforms. The report shows that all these are now cleared for a sustainable migration to HD in the long term.
In the next five years, HDTV will mainly develop as a pay-TV product in Europe, and mostly as a satellite product. However, after analog switch-offs are completed between 2010 and 2012, and digital free-to-air platforms are upgraded to more advanced technologies, they will end up with more bandwidth capacity and become more widely accessible.
This will start the next phase of HDTV migration as HD becomes the mainstream and, ultimately, the standard form of free television around the middle of the next decade. In 10 years, nobody will ever refer to HD because it will be everywhere, according to Screen Digest. However, in the short term, HD broadcast offerings in Europe will remain patchy for three reasons:
Lack of HD on free-to-air platforms. Only Sweden has already launched HD on free DTT and only France and the UK are likely to follow in the short- to midterm. Freesat HD, despite its name, has a disappointing HD lineup and is not likely to make a strong market impact in the UK, according to the research group. Lack of local HD channels in many countries. Pay-TV operators currently rely mostly on U.S. HD channels so far. Lack of ambition from a number of European pay-TV operators.
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